When it comes to recycling in Chicago and Illinois, it’s garbage in, garbage out.

Last month, the Better Government Association’s investigative unit reported that a “managed competition” program being used for residential recycling wasn’t being managed well at all.

The report found neighborhoods on the Northwest, West and far South sides were 20 times more likely to have their recycling diverted to a landfill. Waste Management handles the recycling pickups in those communities and Waste Management owns a landfill where much of the contaminated recycling is dumped, giving it a chance to be paid twice: once when its workers label a recycling bin contaminated and again when it accepts the bins labeled contaminated at its dump.

What’s the solution to this mess?

Read the rest of Madeleine Doubek’s column in the Chicago Sun-Times.